Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls: As well as I've ever had Bravemansgame ahead of King George tilt

Betfair Ambassador Paul Nicholls
Paul Nicholls has 10 runners at Kempton on Boxing Day including Bravemansgame in the King George

It's a busy Boxing Day for Paul Nicholls who has 16 runners around the country including 10 at Kempton where Miranda, McFabulous and Bravemansgame have excellent chances in their respective Grade 1 contests...

  • Ten runners at Kempton for Paul on Boxing Day

  • Miranda well suited to Kempton's track

  • Thrilled with McFabulous who has a great chance

  • All three deserve their chance in King George

  • Brave man has improved again and looks fantastic


Earned his chance and slower ground will suit

12:10 - Rubaud

He's a gorgeous looking horse, a quick, fluent jumper, has won twice at Taunton without really knowing he's been in a race and has earned this step up in class. I think slower ground at Kempton will suit Rubaud who is going to be a cracking chaser next season. I am expecting a decent run at Kempton.

Track is perfect and she has a great chance

12:45 - Miranda

She returns to Kempton in top form after a career best at this track last time in a Listed mares' race which she won decisively on her first attempt at three miles. She ran very well on the flat before that, wants this trip now, and the rain they have had at Kempton should have helped her cause.

I suspect that the track at Kempton might not be ideal for Champ and Paisley Park while it is perfect for Miranda. I'm glad this race is at Kempton not Ascot and Miranda must have a great chance in receipt of 7lbs from the boys.

Improving and stays very well

13:20 - Gelino Bello

He is unbeaten in two starts over fences, stays very well and will enjoy himself at Kempton as he tends to jump a little right handed. He is an improving young horse, needs to gain more experience so why not have a crack at this valuable race against four opponents?

Thrilled with him and he has a first rate chance

13:20 - McFabulous

He was always going to be a chaser, won tidily at Exeter then readily saw of Thyme Hill at Newbury over three miles. I'm thrilled with the progress of McFabulous who looked the real deal at Newbury and as an eight-year-old has much more experience as a racehorse than Gelino Bello. He is in top shape, is well suited by the track and must have a first rate chance.

Track, trip and ground ideal and he's in the best shape I've ever had him

14:30 - Bravemansgame

All three of my runners have more than earned a shot at the King George which has been the long term plan for Bravemansgame from the moment he started schooling over fences at home. He was mustard from day one, quickly developed into a top class chaser and landed the Kauto Star Chase impressively at this track a year ago.

He returned this season with a superb performance in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby when he was far from fully wound up. Three miles round Kempton on decent ground is ideal for Bravemansgame who has improved again and looks fantastic, as well as I've ever had him.

No back number but could struggle against classy younger rivals

14:30 - Frodon

He won this race in tremendous style in 2020 but things didn't go to plan 12 months ago when he got into a fierce battle for the lead and was a spent force in the home straight.

Frodon showed he is far from a back number by winning the Badger Ales Trophy at Wincanton in November under a huge weight. I was then guilty of turning him out again too soon in the Betfair Chase at Aintree.

It's brilliant that Bryony Frost is back in action after breaking a collar bone last month because she gets such a great tune from Frodon. I just wonder though if he might struggle against some classy younger opponents.

Looks better than ever and he's been trained for the race

14:30 - Hitman

He has needed time, continues to progress, looks better than ever this season after a wind op over the summer and won at Haydock last time in great style after a highly encouraging run in the Old Roan at Aintree when he wasn't fully tuned up.

I've trained him for this race and while this trip is three furlongs further than Haydock I've always believed he would stay three miles. In fact it might even bring outfurther improvement in him.

Clan Des Obeaux was rated 160 when he won the King George for the first time in 2018 and that is the current rating for Hitman, who is still only six. I'm sure the best is yet to come from him.

Tough task at weights but he enjoys this trip

15:05 - Solo

We have two chances in this competitive race with Solo giving weight to all but one of his rivals and Don Alvaro at the foot of the handicap. Solo is probably handicapped up to the hilt but he is at his best at two and a half miles and he came up against a smart one last time at Ascot.

Has improved lots and we'll see if he's good enough

15:05 - Don Alvaro

I started this season thinking that he was a fun horse for the West Country and he has surprised me by improving so much he has won his last two races easily at Wincanton in November. He was rated 102 for the first of them and is now up to 122 which means he gets in here off a light weight with his regular rider Angus Cheleda taking off another 5lbs. Will he be good enough in stronger company? There is only one way to find out.

Softer the better and must have a sporting chance

15:40 - Ivaldi

He's lightly raced and steps into his first handicap after just two races over hurdles. The outsider of three at Ascot last time at 10/1 he came tantalisingly close to beating the odds-on favourite Scarface before being chinned on the line. The softer conditions at Kempton the better for Ivaldi who must have a sporting chance.

Best Chance:

McFabulous - 13:20. "He has a strong chance of landing the hat-trick."


*Read Paul's views on his six runners at Huntingdon and Wincanton here.

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